Taxigate councillor “unable to receive city’s highest honour”

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A man who played a key role in allowing a violent rapist become a city cabbie will not receive Milton Keynes Council’s highest honour.

Former Lib Dem councillor Stuart Burke was expected to be made an Alderman at a special meeting of the council.

But Mr Burke has announced at the last minute that he cannot attend “due to personal reasons”, meaning the plans have been deferred.

Councillor Steve Coventry, Mayor of Milton Keynes, said: “It would go against the council’s well-established practice to have the meeting without Mr Burke being present and on that basis I have decided to cancel the meeting.

“I understand that the council’s monitoring officer has consulted with group leaders who agree with this decision.

“These are exceptional circumstances and I think it is best, in the public interest, to take the decision to cancel the meeting so that the inconvenience to members of the public can be minimised as soon as possible.”

The title of Alderman is permanent and second only in status to a mayor. Mr Burke was due to receive it automatically because of the 15 years he served as a councillor before losing his seat last year.

But a number of his former colleagues had objected to because of the part Mr Burke played in taxigate in 2014 - and threatened to block his receiving it.

Mr Burke had headed the council committee which granted a taxi licence to violent rapist Nadeem Kiani. Mr Burke’s Lib Dem colleague, Subhan Shafiq had given a personal character reference in favour of Mr Kiani.

The scandal forced the resignation of Mr Shafiq as mayor - but Mr Burke was unrepentant, saying the rapist had “done his time, served his crime” and was now a “very different person.”

“A code word would then be used and the defendant in the back would come out of hiding and they would then threaten the victim with various weapons.”

Read about the violent history of rapist Nadeem Kiani here.